2019 Winners & Finalists
Congratulations to all winners and finalists of the 2019 Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards. View the complete list of honorees below.
Grand Prize: America’s Most Spirited High School
WINNER: Franklin Towne Charter High School – Philadelphia, PA
Franklin Towne’s Spirit Story is a unique one, as it is rooted in a focus on academics and college prep. The administration and student body chose to take a different approach, as they cultivated a sense of school that was rooted in pride and spirit, and the culture immediately shifted. They have since blossomed into an academic powerhouse that is bolstered by school spirit initiatives. What started as a simple school dance transformed into Spirit Week, Towne Connections Program, Towne Pageant, Towne Thon and countless other school and community engagement activities that make Franklin Towne the most spirited school in town.
- Bingham High School – South Jordan, UT
- Carl Sandburg High School – Orland Park, IL
- Olentangy Berlin High School – Delaware, OH
- Pierce County High School – Blackshear, GA
WINNER: Peyton Camden – Romeoville High School | Romeoville, IL
Peyton Camden wears many hats as a 4-year cheerleader, marching band section leader, math team captain, AP student and National Honors Society President. She believes it’s not about the qualifications, but the mentality to be a true athlete. While many situations cannot be controlled, you can control your attitude and work ethic, which is why Peyton’s motto in all her activities is “all in, all the time”. The combination of support, encouragement, teamwork and positivity is the product of why Peyton believes every day is a great day to be a Spartan.
- Aaden Valdez – Pueblo East High School | Pueblo, CO
- Brinlee Lenochan – VR Eaton High School | Haslet, TX
- Colton Cochran – Waverly Central High School | Waverly, TN
- Duke Paane – Carlsbad High School | Carlsbad, CA
- Kayden Johnson – Central Dauphin High School | Harrisburg, PA
- Peyton Jones – Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
- Jackson Mckenzie – Alma High School | Alma, NE
- Justin Willis – Winchester Community High School | Winchester, IL
- Michael Stein III – Reuben Ayala High School | Chino Hills, CA
WINNER: Chris Hobbs – The King’s Academy | West Palm Beach, FL
Coach Hobbs believes leaders are developed over time and possess many different strengths. Chris greets every athlete and coach with a firm handshake, asks about their day and what he can do to help their program. He makes it his mission to know the name of every athlete and his presence is felt at both practice and games. He helped to formalize a social media presence, initiated monthly devotional talks, and make themed pep rallies and games a regular occurrence for The King’s Academy. Chris has a goal to help make the student athletes dreams a reality.
- Andrea Bouwhuis – Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
- Chris Kendrick – Mid-Buchanan High School | Faucett, MO
- Ira Childress – Okemos High School | Okemos, MI
- Jay Stilianou – Clay High School | Green Cove Springs, FL
- John Broussard – Murrieta Mesa High School | Murrieta, CA
- Joseph Wendt – Racine Horlick High School | Racine, WI
- Keith Cornell – St. Michael-Albertville High School | St. Michael, MN
- Scott Helms – Hartford Union High School | Hartford, WI
WINNER: Alyssa Fredericks – Hopi Jr/Sr High School | Keams Canyon, AZ
Hopi Jr/Sr High School houses 7th-12th grade students and is the only high school on the Hopi Reservation. Alyssa Fredericks returned to the reservation after 12 years to make an impact on her hometown community. Her passion for Athletic Training stemmed from the lack of resources she experienced as an athlete at Hopi, coming from an area with a high rate of poverty. Since her return, she has transformed a storage closet into an official training room and started a Sports Medicine club, where students stay after school to learn the techniques of stretching, taping and exploring careers within Sports Medicine. Alyssa shows her Bruin pride by providing medical care for all junior high and high school athletes on the reservation, and demonstrate school spirit by being their teacher, cheerleader and champion.
- Arthur De Mello – Felix Varela Senior High School | Miami, FL
- Daniela Medina- Canyon High School | Anaheim, CA
- David Mcneil – Costa Mesa High School | Costa Mesa, CA
- Ken Tyler – Lipscomb Academy | Nashville, TN
- Lauren Crombie – Weymouth High School | Weymouth, MA
- Stephanie O’Dell – River Ridge High School | Lacey, WA
WINNER: Logan High School – Logan, OH
Whether it is singing the school fight songs and alma mater in the lobby on football Friday’s, or the National Anthem before sporting events, the Logan High School Choir is always there, supporting the school with enthusiasm and pride. Each year, the Logan Choir sets a theme for their music, and shares it throughout the school and community. This year the theme was “With Open Hearts”. The goal was to reach out to others in the school and community with open hearts, to symbolize inclusiveness, understanding, and acceptance. The Logan High School Choir is now diverse with many talents, including student-athletes, band members, Thespians, honors students, and many more. Every day, they put their differences aside and come together as one, to make beautiful music together.
- Cedar Creek High School – Cedar Creek, TX
- Edison High School – Stockton, CA
- Lakeshore High School – Stevensville, MI
WINNER: Matt English – Beech Grove High School | Indianapolis, IN
Matt English was the winningest coach in school history, a dedicated Athletic Director, a father-figure, a mentor, the one you could depend on. Matt was not just interested in building the capacity of student athletes; he was interested in building the leadership potential of anyone he came in contact with. He did this seemingly with ease because he modeled that leadership potential in everything he did. Even when his illness took much of his strength, Matt continued to come to practices and stop by work, to visit students, and show all that strength comes from within and cannot be taken away by anyone or anything. Coach English lived by the quote, “We Before Me,” and he made sure his players understood the spirit of that mantra. Matt’s legacy will live on forever in the hearts of the athletes and students at Beech Grove and in the game of basketball for many generations to come.
Matthew A. English: 3/21/73 – 12/10/18.
- Brody Massengill – South Johnston High School | Four Oaks, NC
- Eva Perez – Edinburg High School | Edinburg, TX
- Jermaine Christian – Rutland High School | Macon, GA
- John Lambourne – Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
- Juan Monge – Felix Varela High School | Miami, FL
- Kori Johnson – Costa Mesa High School | Costa Mesa, CA
- Lindsey Needham – Denmark High School | Alpharetta, GA
- Paul Alberson – Marshall High School | Marshall, MO
- Melissa McPherson – Azle High School | Springtown, TX
- Mike O’Neill – Collierville High School | Collierville, TN
- Tlaloc Venancio – Crawford High School | San Diego, CA
Community Service Project
WINNER: Rio Rancho High School – Rio Rancho, NM
Every November for the last 11 years, Rio Rancho High School’s Associated Students hold one of the largest student-run community service projects in the state of New Mexico called The Big Event. The Big Event unites over 600 student volunteers with over 90 adult volunteers to visit nearly 100 households in Rio Rancho. The volunteers go to the homes to do chores requested by the residents such as yard work, painting, cleaning and beyond. Although there is no socioeconomic requirement to receive help, many of the recipients are elderly or disabled who are unable to do the work themselves. This one day of the year has a huge impact in showing the Rio Rancho community how powerful they can be when they come together, and a big thank you to the community for its support of the schools.
- Airport High School – West Columbia, SC
- Bingham High School – South Jordan, UT
- Caston Jr/ Senior High School – Fulton, IN
- CC Winn High School – Eagle Pass, TX
- Florence High School – Florence, MS
- Lexington Christian Academy High School – Lexington, KY
- Skutt Catholic High School – Omaha, NE
- Rutland High School – Macon, GA
- Vestavia Hills High School – Vestavia Hills, AL
Game Day Experience
WINNER: Bingham High School – South Jordan UT
The Miners of Bingham are connected through spirit, and game days are an opportunity for them to unite. For every 7PM Friday night game, the tunnels are filled at 6:42 PM. with cheerleaders, drill team, Dance Company, marching band, and even Melvin the Miner. At each home game, all of these programs unite in performing the pregame routine. This united routine starts with three cheers for Bingham High and continues to the Bingham fight song. The American flag is brought out by Dance Company as the marching band plays the national anthem. The football team remains on the field and performs the Haka: a unifying performance for the players, crowd, and community. The Haka is directed at the crowd and unifies Bingham as a whole. The best part about Bingham game day is that everyone has a role.
- Carlsbad High School – Carlsbad, CA
- Douglas County High School – Castle Rock, CO
- Hendersonville High School – Hendersonville, TN
- Reedsburg Area High School: Reedsburg, WI
- Washington High School – Massillon, OH
WINNER: Rutland High School – Macon, GA
Rutland High School strives to make graduation more than a culmination of four years of academics, athletics, clubs and memories. It strives to make graduation a ceremony that inspires success to all those who attend. Every person attending graduation should celebrate not only the achievements up to this day, but also celebrate the achievements on display at graduation that day. A moment when a student confined to a wheel chair walks across the stage to accept his diploma, or a senior who unexpectedly passes right before graduation still has her name read and diploma given to her family, Rutland puts tremendous thought and effort in making Commencement a day to rejoice. To start a new chapter by excelling in the success and achievements of that day sets the tone of their tomorrows.
- East Limestone High School – Athens, AL
- Edison High School – Stockton, CA
- Panhandle High School – Panhandle, TX
WINNER: Isaac Powell – Hubbard High School | Hubbard, OH
After years of not being able to find someone who would wear the Hubbard Eagle feathers proudly, Isaac Powell stepped up, as an eighth grader at the time, and completely transformed the Hubbard High School Eagle image. Isaac sized Hubbard Eagle with a size 5XL clothing, and has purchased and handmade around 20 outfits and costumes that the Eagle wears for various occasions and themes. The Eagle now attends all home and away football and boys’ basketball games, all home girls’ basketball games, and EVERY sporting event the school has to offer at least twice a season, including boys and girls soccer, swimming, volleyball, bowling, baseball, softball, and track. Over the past two and a half years, Isaac has proudly put on the Eagle over 150 different times and each time is proud to be a Hubbard Eagle.
- AJ Crowder – Greenbrier High School | Springfield, TN
- Mikey Mckibben – Aquilla High School | Aquilla, TX
- Seth Moyers – Fayetteville High School | Fayetteville, TN
WINNER: Skyline Schools – Pratt, KS
The Pep Band at Skyline is at every home Football and Basketball game, Pep Assembly, Homecoming Celebration, and are heavily visible within the community. The Pep Band strives for perfection at each competition and performance to showcase their talent, but their main priority is to be visible for the school and community. They’ve spent additional time composing music specifically for the cheerleaders for their Game Day performances, as well as filling in at the collegiate level for Pratt Community College events when needed. Skyline Pep Band is so proud of their presence in and around the school and community, and use their talent to leverage a strong culture at Skyline Schools.
- CC Winn High School – Eagle Pass, TX
- Delta Streets Academy – Greenwood, MS
- Muncy Junior Senior High School – Muncy, PA
- Nogales High School – La Puente, CA
- Ramona High School – Riverside, CA
- Sandia High School – Albuquerque, NM
- Santa Margarita Catholic High School – Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
- Wickliffe High School – Wickliffe, OH
WINNER: Vincent Hunter – Whitehaven High School | Memphis, TN
Dr. Hunter’s tenure of more than twenty years at Whitehaven High School reflects his commitment to the Tiger community. His ability to instill school spirit, while maintaining high academic achievement, as well as building school community is certainly “a true Tiger effort”, as he would say. He has worked hard to develop student and alumni relationships. This type of interaction allows students the opportunity to realize their potential by communicating with former students about their success from being a Tiger, and where they are today. Dr. Hunter also makes it a point to remind all students about each activity happening on campus that day though the morning announcements, and is present at each of them. Dr. Hunter continually emphasizes the importance of school spirit after high school by giving back and remembering to “see the vision through the eye of the Tiger.”
- Cary Willborn – Rancho Cucamonga High School | Rancho Cucamonga, CA
- Dwight Ashley – Parke Heritage High School | Rockville, IN
- Mark Smith – Woodstock High School | Woodstock, GA
- Todd Spinner – Olentangy Berlin High School | Delaware, OH
WINNER: Polly Vader – Piper High School | Kansas City, KS
To students, staff and community members, Polly Vader is far from “just” a school counselor at Piper High School. With her ongoing positivity, Polly leads the Dude Be Nice Committee. This group recognizes and encourages acts of kindness throughout the school and community. She serves on the Fun Faculty Force, where she plans faculty engagement monthly. She is invested in each student, from knowing his or her home life, to helping plan the future, and her door is always open to work through anything a student needs. Her spirit and enthusiasm can never be dulled; she is a woman who always gives without expecting anything in return. Polly Vader embodies what it means to be a dedicated guidance counselor with unconditional love for her community, and always going the extra mile for her students.
- April Rogers – Winchester Community High School | Winchester, IN
- Charles Jason McPeak – Logan High School | Logan, WV
- Julio Perez – Edison High School – Stockton, CA
- Lara Norris – Rutland High School | Macon, GA
- Laura Sessions – Calumet High School | Calumet, OK
WINNER: Costa Mesa High School – Costa Mesa, CA
Costa Mesa High School’s “Spread the Love” tradition was started back in 2013 by a student that felt the need to make sure that every student knew that they were loved and wanted. The idea arose from the social awareness of depression, bullying, and being a positive light in every student’s life. This week long event not only celebrates the students, but the staff as well. The Associated Student Body (ASB) hosts lunchtime activities each day of “Spread the Love”, such as creating a photo walls with Polaroid pictures, writing positive messages to each other, and hosting a number of performances. The theme “Every Mustang Matters” is reiterated every single day at Costa Mesa.
- Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
- Bishop Moore Catholic High School | Orlando, FL
- Bristol Central High School | Bristol, CT
- Carlsbad High School | Carlsbad, CA
- Franklin Towne | Philadelphia, PA
- Phillipsburg High School | Phillipsburg, NJ
- Rio Rancho High School | Rio Rancho, NM
- Rutland High School | Macon, GA Veronica Christian
Spirit of Inclusion
WINNER: Bingham High School – South Jordan, UT
Bingham High School students, faculty, staff, and administration are committed to providing an atmosphere of inclusion for all students through the Golden Gate Club. This club has ignited by committing to its motto, “STAY KIND.” Club members sign a pledge with a commitment to smile to students in the hall, reach out if someone looks like they are struggling, include everyone, make someone’s day every day, befriend someone new, invite students to lunch, and build authentic social connections. Golden Gate has made a significant difference in the lives of students and has spread to multiple schools in Utah and throughout the nation. More than 8,000 students have signed the pledge, and Bingham High School plans to keep expanding.
- Caesar Rodney High School | Camden, DE
- Chatsworth Charter High School | Chatsworth, CA
- Leon High School | Tallahassee, FL
- Middletown High School | Middletown, DE
- Rutland High School | Macon, GA
- The Woodlands College Park High School | Conroe TX
- Union Endicott High School | Endicott, NY
Spirit of Sportsmanship
WINNER: Rutland High School – Macon, GA
Rutland High School Cheerleading Squad wants each opposing team to think of Rutland as a “home away from home”. They go beyond sharing welcome gifts with the opposing team, and giving them a place to store their belongings. They celebrate other team’s joys, and also share their grief. When an opposing team lost a member of the football team the week they were scheduled to play Rutland High School, the cheerleading squad helped to dedicate the game to the fallen athlete by bringing the two student bodies together as one. They want others to know that cheerleaders not only support the team they represent, but also represent all athletes, coaches, staff members, parents, community members, and anyone that enters into “Our House.”
- Bishop Gorman Catholic School | Tyler, TX
- Emmaus High School | Emmaus, PA
- Fredericksburg Christian School | Fredericksburg, VA
Spirit of St. Jude
WINNER: Dutchtown High School – Prairieville, LA
Inspired by a middle school student who lost her battle to Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and her will to “Never Give Up”, Dutchtown High School catapulted into raising funds and awareness for the amazing work that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital does each and every day. The event that involves the most students is the Team Up for St Jude Week. The student body participated in multiple class competitions raising over $6400, and the grand total for Team Up for St Jude week was $15,500. Dutchtown High was one of the pilot schools five years ago for the Team Up for St Jude program and they will continue this legacy of leadership and community service every year. In the six years they have been raising money for St. Jude, they have collected over $75,000 because they embody the mission that no child should die in the dawn of life.
- Cedar Creek High School | Cedar Creek, TX
- Cherokee County High School | Canton, GA
- Havana High School | Hanava, IL
- Magnolia Heights School | Senatobia, MS
- Oak Ridge High School | Conroe, TX
- Torrington High School | Torrington, CT
- Tracy High School | Tracy, CA
WINNER: Jeannie Fletcher – Worth County High School | Grant City, MO
Jeannie Fletcher is Worth County School District’s head custodian, bus driver, and #1 fan. Jeannie’s pride in the school is visible to the staff, students, and community alike. The quality of work that she puts in to keep the school clean, organized, and running smoothly goes above and beyond. Jeannie paints the lines on the football field for every game, hangs signs up for all players and cheerleaders, flags on the fence posts, and the bleachers are clean and ready to go for the game, and returns to her custodial duties until sometimes 2am. Her work is sacrificial. Her pride in Worth County is contagious. Jeannie’s 28 year-old spirit story will live on through the lives of all the students she has cheered for.
- Amy Bossard – Ankeny Centennial High School | Ankeny, IA
- Ben Zimmerman – De Pere High School | De Pere, WI
- Beverly Harris – Rutland High School | Macon, GA
- Brian Wagner – Winchester High School | Winchester, IN
- John Black – Webb City High School | Webb City, MO
- John Morgan – Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
- Jolynne Warn – Bingham High School | South Jordan, UT
- Tonya Dickson – Greenbrier High School | Greenbrier, TN
- Viletta McCormick – Harrison County School District | Gulfport, MS
WINNER: Sarah Schaefer – North Stafford High School | Stafford, VA
Sarah Schaefer wears many hats at North Stafford High School, and she wears them proudly. Not only is she number one in her class, but she is also a true leader who expects nothing less than the very best from herself and those around her. Sarah is heavily involved in Student Government and founded a Girl Up Club. She also started a school-wide Girl of the Month recognition program and actively participates in National Honor Society. Sarah is also a student ambassador for the Disney Dreamers Academy and High School Diplomats program, co-founded the Green Club, and served on the Commonwealth Governor’s School Advisory Committee, leading Freshman Orientations and speaking at promotional events. Sarah has spent much of her career working to support and improve her school with overwhelming school pride.
- Austin Cline – Winchester Community High School | Winchester, IN
- Austin Denton – La Cueva High School | Albuquerque, NM
- Grace Twyford – New Palestine High School | New Palestine, IN
- Grace Wells-Dannenfelser – Ponaganset High School | North Scituate, RI
- Hannah Tudor – Murrieta Valley High School | Murrieta, CA
- Javon Jones – Dougherty Comprehensive High School | Albany, GA
- Lance Adams – South Johnston High School | Four Oaks, NC
- Mark Killmeyer – Cary High School | Cary, NC
- Monique Christian – Rutland High School | Macon, GA
WINNER: Chapin High School – Chapin, SC
The Chapin High School Student Government serves as the heartbeat of Chapin High School. They are solely responsible for creating a school culture which promotes school spirit and pride across campus. They sponsor pep rallies, bonfires, movie nights in the stadium, a luau, Homecoming week, dances, hallway decorating competitions, talent shows, the Mr. Chapin Pageant, Miss Chapin Pageant and the Powder Puff game. Several of these activities are free to students, ensuring all students have the opportunity to participate. They also serve as peer buddies for the special needs athletic team, and regularly participate as helpers for baseball and soccer seasons. The 55 students who make up the Chapin High School Student Government are dedicated to creating a school culture which focuses on service and spirit.
- Bingham High School – South Jordan, UT
- Cedar Creek High School – Bastrop, TX
- Jefferson City High School – Jefferson City, MO
- Ouachita Parish High School – Monroe, LA
- Valle Verde Early College High School – El Paso, TX
WINNER: William Husfelt – Bay District Schools | Panama City, FL
When Hurricane Michael devastated the entire Panama City community in October of 2018, William Husfelt used spirit to move the community onward and upward. William identifies “spirit” as Faith, Family and Future, and it’s the spirit of the community. It’s the teamwork, camaraderie and relationship building they learned on the athletic fields, the classrooms, the gymnasiums and theaters. Bill was the coach in this circumstance, and coached his team rebuild. He helped combine schools so they could resume sooner. He helped create emergency shelters from schools. He provided staff with cell phones so they could stay connected. He offered a helping hand to each and every family in the district. This devastation will take years to fix but Bill has proven that if it could be done, it got done.
- David Vinson – Wylie Independent School District | Wylie, TX
- Kenneth Dyer – Dougherty County School System | Albany, GA
- Patricia Oakley – West Bridgewater Middle Senior High School | West Bridgewater, MA
WINNER: Stephanie Schweitzer – Canyon High School | Anaheim, CA
At Canyon High School, Stephanie Schweitzer’s classroom is a haven for her students. Students feel connected and safe in her room and want to spend their free time in her class. She was inspired to be a teacher when it was one teacher that changed her life and helped her rise from the ashes. From that point on, her mission is to be a champion for her students. She helps students obtain their potential regardless of the circumstances in their life. She helps students discover the strengths they did not know they had, pursue their passions and build confidence. She inspires students by encouraging them to get involved, and always go all out when it comes to spirit. She has an amazing track record for putting students on the right trajectory, and many students do not know where they would be without her influence.
- Alysia Bluford – Rutland High School | Macon, GA
- Bob Mohr – De Pere High School | De Pere, WI
- Brian Gallagher – Ramona High School | Riverside, CA
- Dustin Shannon – Winchester Community High School | Winchester, IN
- Jeff Riccitelli – Carlsbad High School | Carlsbad, CA
- Jonathan Doughterty – Franklin Towne Charter High School | Philadelphia, PA
- Kodee Johnson – Edison High School | Stockton, CA
- Lauren Temple- New Palestine High School
- Lisa Stokes – Weymouth High School | Weymouth, MA
- Ryan Vinson – Rossview High School | Clarksville, TN
WINNER: TJ Lovell – Winchester Community High School | Winchester, IN
TJ is a crowd favorite on the Lady Falcons Basketball Team at Winchester Community High School. Besides doing the normal responsibilities that come with being a manager, TJ is a big help in practices. Oftentimes, he can be found guarding post players or throwing passes as they work on their shooting. He treats the team like they are his sisters. He is supporting, protective and always makes them laugh. As each practice and game come to an end, he’s always standing with the rest of the coaches, ready to offer his daily encouragement, and it is always something positive. The Lady Falcons would not be the team they are without TJ Lovell.
- Christian “Kaleb” Bryant – Rutland High School | Macon, GA
- Deandre Bonds – Whitehaven High School | Memphis, TN
- Morrison Davies – Sweetwater High School | Sweetwater, TN
WINNER: Vista Ridge High School – Colorado Springs, CO
The 2018-2019 Vista Ridge yearbook embodies the spirit of high schoolers going out to find themselves and staff members seasoned with experiences in and out of the classroom. The Ridgeline yearbook staff has covered almost every game, concert, event, and performance to make sure that each experience was documented. To allow students and staff to relive moments throughout the year, the yearbook staff added in videos using HP Reveal and augmented reality. Each time students see a black and white photo, they can scan their phone or tablet over the page and experience a team win or cheerleading routine from the front row. Vista Ridge has found the essence of adventure in the student body, and they successfully documented this journey and found that each student has a sense of adventure. Adventure is calling for Vista Ridge!
- Canyon High School | Anaheim, CA
- Perry Central | Leopold, IN
- St. Teresa’s Academy | Kansas City, MO
- Winchester Community High School | Winchester, IN
Spirit Leader: CHEER
WINNER: Cleburne County High School – Helflin, AL
The Cleburne County High School cheerleaders embody a mission known as “WE Culture”. One school, one community, one culture. With this mindset, they support everyone both on campus and in the community. What began as a tremendous task to spread school spirit through the school, overflowed into the town and community. “We Culture” continues to flourish throughout the year at volunteering events, new student orientation, homecoming, the holiday season and other programs within the school. The Cleburne County High School cheerleaders started a movement that has brought the entire school and town of Heflin together as Tigers.
Spirit Leader: DANCE
WINNER: West Bend East High School – West Bend, WI
The West Bend East Dance Team’s mission is to represent the school by being good role models, full of spirit, deeply involved in school and community life. This team is highly visible, performing and assisting at community events all year long, and hosting their newest community-wide event “Dancing with Our Stars” show, including local community leaders and rival schools. For a school that shares a building with its town rival, this team has stepped up to make the school a positive, inclusive environment by inviting the opposing team to share the stage at local events. The West Bend East Dance team holds themselves to high standards of cultivating a positive attitude, becoming the best dancer and young woman that each can be, and challenging themselves to succeed academically.